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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Meet Hez b'Allah

Founded in 1982, Hezbollah pulled together smaller terrorist groups and operates under a variety of names. Its program calls for the destruction of the United States, Israel and any government standing in its way; worldwide resumption of the Holocaust; and the liberation of "occupied Arab lands" such as Jordan and Morocco.

Its camps in Lebanon's Beka valley have trained al-Qaeda terrorists, Chechen rebels, the Medellin drug cartel, Hamas, the Japanese Red Army, Muslim "insurgents" in the Balkans, and the Irish Republican Army. It has organized "cultural" and "religious" groups worldwide - actually for recruitment and fund raising - in the United States.

Hezbollah has more than 5,000 trained terrorists in Lebanon and Syria alone, armed with some 10,000 missiles, tanks and antiaircraft artillery, according to European Union intelligence sources.

In addition, Hezbollah has another 15,000 to 20,000 members in the United States, Latin America, Europe and East Asia. Its TV station broadcasts its death-to-America message to an estimated 10 million Muslims. And its leaders have the affection of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Hezbollah's operational budget is $500 million. Its reserves reportedly are greater than bin Laden's fortune or what he collected from the Saudi royal family. Since 9/11, less and less comes from Arab governments. Ditto from Islamic "charitable" organizations - a result of U.S. restrictions on financial transfers and the USA PATRIOT Act.

One example of how Hezbollah works: Its operatives bought with cash thousands of cartons of cigarettes from tobacco companies in North Carolina. The tax in that state is 5 cents. The cigarettes were smuggled to Michigan, where the tax is 70 cents per pack, and sold illegally at less than the regular price. Until Hezbollah operatives, led by Muhammed Yussef Hammoud, were apprehended and convicted, they had made many millions for Hezbollah. This money buys radar, mine-detection devices, laser range finders, naval equipment and other supplies hardly needed for Hezbollah's terrorist war against Israel.

Hezbollah also has been involved in merchandise counterfeiting, forging driver's licenses and green cards, and looting Social Security funds. The loss so far to financial institutions in credit-card fraud alone has been more than $17 million.

The U.S. Treasury Department in 2002 seized some $16 million in currency and cashier's checks that were being sent illegally to Lebanon. Hezbollah coordinates the traffic of drug-smuggling networks, facilitating operations for cash on the barrelhead.

Under Imad Mugniyah, Hezbollah's external security head, the group has been involved in the Balkan fighting, an area that serves as the route for 40 percent of the heroin trade in the United States and 80 percent to Europe.

With al-Qaeda, it is a dominant factor in the Latin American drug trade. And it has set up terrorist-training and teen-age indoctrination camps in the Latin American jungles - as well as "making fortunes" in the forgery of passports, counterfeiting, trafficking in human beings, smuggling stolen vehicles, and running export/import businesses with Indian and Hong Kong traders.
This from Hezbollah Emerging As The Terrorist A-team; apparently much of the information is found in Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It by Rachel Ehrenfeld, with foreward by R. James Woolsey.